We beat Fulham and won - nothing.

Published: Monday, 29 August 2022

What happens in the next four days is going to be fascinating. Chances are it will make or break the rest of the season for some clubs.

Already PL clubs have spent $1.8b dollars this summer - according to professional services network Deloitte. That surpasses the current 2017 record of $1.7b as the most money spent in a window.

The figure is also higher than PL clubs spent in the whole of last season.

And there was me thinking that Covid might have burst the bubble. No - hoping that it had.

It’s madness. I’m tempted to say ‘unsustainable’, but how long have we been saying that for?

I’m writing Monday.  Deals yet to be done include Antony’s to United. Forest are said to be making their 19th signing in Willy Boli. We’re told Chelsea aren’t finished. Palace are set to spend £27m on Conor Gallagher (smart move btw) and Liverpool might yet swoop somewhere. These won’t be the only clubs doing business, but
most are done. City won’t spend again in this window. Neither will Villa. And it’s Villa I want to concentrate on.

Buying and selling is a gamble. Not if you’re buying Haaland obviously, but for the most part you just don’t know.   You can do all the homework you like - it isn’t an exact science.

Would City spend £100m on Grealish again? I doubt they’d spend £10m on him. What a sad waste of money he’s been. What about Pepe? £72m? No thanks. Lukaku? Pogba? Ndombele? The game is littered with expensive failures. I’m quite certain due diligence was done ahead of all of them- but none worked out. And there’s plenty of others on the list.

So back to Villa. They’ve spent €700m dollars since 2012. The spend is what you really judge - not the net spend - but if you want that stat - Villa were the highest net spenders of any club in Europe over the past three seasons - before you add what Gerrard has spent. That’s incredible isn’t it? More than United, Real Madrid or even Bayern.

And what have they got for their money? So far - nothing. Are they better now than they were when Dean Smith left? No. Did they replace what they had with better in the summer? No. Are they still an unsolvable conundrum? It looks like it. And does Steven Gerrard have any answers? Well - the jury is out. And I’ve got a feeling he will be if things don’t get better quickly.

Smile a bit Steven. Lighten up. Get the guys on your side. I’m told working at Villa right now isn’t enjoyable. If players don’t enjoy going to work that’s a huge problem. And what did I say about Mings-gate? All that was so unnecessary. It was badly handled and it’s still an issue. I’m afraid it might just be Gerrard’s undoing.

Let’s hope not. We both need and want young British coaches in the game, but Gerrard is failing at Villa.

Now. Let’s spell this out very clearly. Arsenal over-celebrated their win over Fulham. It was disrespectful to the opposition. And for me - it is a measure of how far they’ve fallen.

I’m not blaming the fans. I get it. Enjoy your wins. Enjoy your day out - you’ve spent enough on it - but Arteta and his coaching staff went over the top. They were running round like they’d just won the CL. They’d beaten newly-promoted Fulham 2-1. That’s all. Nothing more. Save the drama for a win over Spurs, Liverpool, or a valiant performance against City the likes of which Newcastle gave the previous week.

I say again - the win over Fulham was over-celebrated - and it was embarrassing. Proper Arsenal managers like George Graham or Arsene Wenger would’ve made a dignified exit and been off down the tunnel knowing full well that they’d got away with one. Arsenal fans aren’t happy about what I said - but think about it. It was Fulham. Come on.

While I’m on the subject - have I missed something? When did Arteta get special dispensation to stand on the touch line for 90 minutes - waving his arms about like a broken windmill? Literally - right on the touch line. Every other coach has to stay in his area - but not Arteta it seems. Why is this? Could somebody tell me? If he doesn’t have dispensation - could the PGMOL do something about it please? The coaching area is clearly marked and Arteta shouldn’t be marching up and down touch lines - nor entering the field of play - as he often does.

Last word. I’ve got a new hero - Brennan Johnson. Well done Brennan. Inevitably the irritating Richarlison was going to ground when you hit him. It’s just a shame it wasn’t with something to make it worthwhile! 😂😂